Tuesday, August 2, 2011

The friendly confines

So all it took to get the Indians' comatose offense to stir to life was a visit to cozy Fenway Park. After scoring nine runs in their previous four games combined, the Indians scored nine runs Monday night in a 9-6 win over the Red Sox in Game 1 of a potentially punishing road trip in which the Indians will play seven consecutive games against first place teams.

Nice to see rookie Jason Kipnis have the biggest game of his still brief major league career, smacking a single, double, and home run. Kipnis and double play partner Asdrubal Cabrera were a combined 6-for-10 with a double, three home runs, six runs scored, and five RBI.

Sometimes this happens. Teams struggle at home, then go on the road - it doesn't matter where - and immediately have a big game. Believe it or not there is far less pressure on the road. You're playing in a hostile environment, but that can work in the visiting team's favor because it knows it won't be booed, nobody is expecting the visitors to win, and sometimes, if the visitors really put it to the home team, it's the home team that gets booed - which also works in favor of the visitors.

Let's not get carried away with the Indians' win Monday, however. It came against the least effective pitcher in Boston's rotation, John Lackey. Indians pitchers are going to have to bear down on the Boston lineup the rest of this series, because most of the Sox hitters look locked in. On Monday many of their hits came on some pretty good pitches by Josh Tomlin, who I thought threw considerably better than his line indicates.

Overall, an encouraging start to an ominous road trip. I think if the Indians can win three of the next six on this trip they would be delighted.


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